UNSPEAKABLE REBEL SUPERWEAPON PART V! The sinister propagandists of the COALITION FOR PROGRESS keep a vast gallery of the EMPIRE’S priceless victory trophies – and notorious thief DOCTOR APHRA just got in… But she won’t get the chance to pinch anything. She’s here to be initiated into the web of secret schemes she’s unwittingly tangled herself in. Can you say “coup”? (IF yes: don’t. Round here, there’s always someone listening…)
Again, and again, Aphra has been a rollercoaster of a ride that never seems to give up. And just when you think you have the lay of the land, Spurrier delivers an entirely different paced comic. I’m not saying this as a bad thing. I love the rollercoaster but having a change of pace allows for threads to be tidied up, new foundations set and also, most importantly, keeps us (the reader) on our toes.
The first thing that really struck me with this issue was the artwork. Santos and Bolson have done an incredible job in this comic. With the flashback scenes about Voor, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old Dark Horse Tales of the Jedi series. It’s a style that I don’t see much of now, yet it works beautifully; The attention to detail is excellent. And where do I begin on the double page spreads?! This issue, which is mainly two people talking for the whole issue, is just a feast for the eyes. There’s not one panel where you haven’t got to look a little closer. I’m sure Santos and Bolson had immense fun with this issue, it’s certainly paid off.
How long do you keep Voor a mystery? When do you explain who she is and lose that hook? It’s a fine line. Yet, Spurrier picks his moment and picks it well. The back story to this character is very original, which in Star Wars, is an incredible feat. I’m almost annoyed that she will be leaving us already, as I have a sneaky feeling a lot more could be done with her. The whole premise that she is trying to save the Empire by saving pennies and men with propaganda is a great motivator and I think in a comic like Doctor Aphra, it suits the story perfectly. It is showing the real cost of war, and what a drain it is on a government.
So, we have everything explained to us, which with my doubts about the Rebels, Tolvan, and other bits and pieces, all now makes sense. The fact that everyone was trying to play Aphra makes complete sense and in some ways, you start to feel sorry for Aphra… until she shows them all how it’s done. I did worry that Aphra had met her match, yet in true Aphra fashion, she is able to show why she is one of the fan favourites. Having this brought back to the flashbacks about her mother is a fitting end to this story arc.
And our ending? Back with Darth Vader for a single panel….and then, ‘sorry folks, not till next issue!’ It’s so well done, infuriating, but very well done. These two characters have spent a whole series apart and to see them back together is wonderful. My only concern, does this mean we’re at the beginning of the end for the Doctor Aphra series? I have thought this several times, yet Spurrier is full of new and exciting ideas. But Aphra and Vader…surely this can only head in one direction?
From the first part of this arc, this story has been a feast for the eyes, revealing of its characters past and introduced new and creative enemies for Aphra to face. For a comic that is on its thirty-sixth issue, that’s quite a complement. Having had my doubts in the early issues, I can safely say that Aphra has found its rhythm in the Star Wars universe. For the next arc to come back full circle to Vader is exciting, yet my warning bells are telling me this could be the finale for our girl. I hope I’m wrong, Spurrier’s mislead me before, but somehow, this time, it feels different…
Doctor Aphra is an ongoing series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic bookstores. This issue retails at $3.99.